Eerie abandoned passenger steamer becomes an unexpected tourist attraction – as the venue for a terrifying ‘zombie experience’
- Pictures show the creepy abandoned Duke of Lancaster ship near Mostyn Docks on the River Dee in Wales
- Zombie Infection tourist attraction will see participants face off against undead scientists
- The passenger steamer’s new function has delighted campaigners who wanted the ship to be renovated
An eerie abandoned ship has been given a new lease of life – as the venue for a terrifying ‘zombie experience’.
The Duke of Lancaster has been rusting away in the Dee Estuary in north-east Wales for over 30 years.
But from January it’ll be the setting for an apocalyptic game in which participants have to shoot ‘infected’ scientists.
An eerie abandoned ship, the Duke of Lancaster (pictured), has been given a new lease of life – as the venue for a terrifying ‘zombie experience’. It lies six nautical miles from the Irish Sea in Flintshire, north-east Wales
Zombie apocalypse: ‘Infected’ scientists will board the Duke of Lancaster for an exhilarating survival game
The company behind the experience – Zombie Infection – promises an ‘immersive theatre production’ and ‘movie realistic zombies’. Pictured is the interior of the ship
It’s clearly suited for this purpose – because it looks like it’s been in the apocalypse.
Granted, it has been given a fresh lick of paint, but it’s still an unnerving location.
The company behind the experience – Zombie Infection – promises an ‘immersive theatre production’ and ‘movie realistic zombies’.
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It said: ‘The 2.5-hour experience places guests at the centre of a zombie apocalypse. Once armed up with an upgradable weapon guests will be invited on board to uncover the secrets the ship holds whilst facing movie realistic zombies round every corner.
‘Explore the cabins, engine rooms, captain’s deck, bars and restaurants in hope of finding the answers to the virus and its strength. Nowhere is safe.’
It added: ‘The events are fast, intense and require you to be on your toes at all times. Make sure you bring sustenance as the apocalypse can be demanding!’
The colossal Duke of Lancaster was built in 1956 at Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast, where the Titanic was made
She began life as passenger steamer for British Railways, ferrying passengers between Heysham and Belfast
The ship has been given a lick of paint ahead of her new role as a location for the splatting of zombie hordes
The colossal Duke of Lancaster was built in 1956 at Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast, where the Titanic was made.
She began life as passenger steamer for British Railways, ferrying passengers between Heysham and Belfast.
But she was no ordinary passenger steamer. Her facilities were so refined that she sometimes moonlighted as a cruise liner around Scotland and the Mediterranean.
She was converted into a car ferry in 1970 – running the Heysham-Belfast route – but was withdrawn in 1975.
Until November 1978 she had a brief stint as the regular relief vessel on the Holyhead–Dún Laoghaire service before being abandoned in Barrow, Cumbria, in 1979.
The 350ft vessel was then moved to her current location – near Mostyn Docks in Flintshire – by entrepreneur John Rowley, who converted her into a ‘Fun Ship’ leisure complex, complete with a coffee lounge, bars, a restaurant, and an amusement arcade. Visitors could also tour the engine room.
However, legal disputes with the local council put paid to the fun.
From the mid-eighties onwards she became a disused landmark.
In 2012 plans to turn her into an open air art gallery partially came into fruition, with various graffiti artists brought in to paint striking murals on her hull.
But now the zombie hordes are on the horizon.
John Rowley turned the Duke of Lancaster into leisure complex ‘Fun Ship’ in 1979. He said of this image, taken on the ship’s bridge: ‘We probably went a bit overboard (no pun intended) to try to give our customers value for money’
In 2012 plans to turn the ship into an open air art gallery partially came into fruition, with various graffiti artists brought in to paint striking murals on her hull
Sea sick: The Duke of Lancaster was beached 39 years ago and became an intriguing disused landmark
Ashley Gardner, 54, who is a member of the Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society, said: ‘I think I can safely say the appreciation society is excited that things seem to be moving forward at last for the ship.
‘It will be a huge milestone reached after not being able to do anything for the past 30-plus years.
‘On the whole it’s brilliant she is now possibly going to have a future.
‘Zombies today but there are many different events the dock and the ship are available for… parties, celebrations, festivals, water sports, meetings, glamping (eventually) and anything else you can think of.’
A seagull’s perspective: The deck of the Duke of Lancaster is 350ft long. In her heyday she operated as a cruise liner around Scotland and the Mediterranean
Rocky road: The Duke of Lancaster was a rusting wreck until Zombie Infection gave it a paint job
Ms Gardner took an interest in the ship 11 years ago when she worked nearby at Abakhan Fabrics.
She tweeted about restoring the ship and said: ‘The following day it seemed to go crazy.
‘That was that really. I was hooked.’
- Tickets for the Duke of Lancaster zombie experience can be bought from www.zombieinfection.co.uk.
- To find out more about the ship and its history read The Duke of Lancaster: Trapped In A Pirate Republic? by John Rowley.
Zombie Infection said of the Duke of Lancaster experience: ‘Explore the cabins, engine rooms [pictured], captain’s deck, bars and restaurants in hope of finding the answers to the virus and its strength. Nowhere is safe’
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